I’m an Alex boy, but one of the most talked about subjects at Networking Meetings is Women’s Only Networking Groups
I know many people who attend Women’s Only Networking and get value from it and I know many Women in Business who much prefer mixed networking events
Below are the For and Against cases for Women Only Networking groups by 2 leading ladies in Business – Sue Weighell (Finance Director and chair of the National Women’s Network) and Ruth Tibbett (Family Lawyer at Dunne & Gray)
After reading both cases we’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section
FOR – WOMEN ONLY NETWORKING
I believe that women only networking has an important place in the development of our business women. That is not to say that mixed networking should be ignored. Women network very differently to men and tend to spend more time finding out about a person. I often see that women look to see how they can help others as well as help themselves. They naturally want to support each other and this is a great benefit to those who work alone in their businesses.
I have been to many networking events over the past five years when I decided to venture out of my accountancy box! That was my office that I very rarely left and it was like a box. But I decided I needed to get out and talk to the world. It was scary so my first inclination was to find a women’s group to dip my toe in the water. I didn’t look back. That first group was NWN North West (National Women’s Network) and I now chair that group. I also chair Handbags & Briefcases, another women only group.
I have learnt my networking skills in a supportive environment and can now face the world with confidence in my networking skills. 2007 – Go to a meeting where I knew no one? Never! 2013 – I’ll go anywhere and talk to anyone – both women only and mixed events.
My experience has been that networking with women goes beyond pure business and great friends are made. Business problems are shared and you are not judged. Advice and support is freely given.
Personally, in my business I work with more men than women. I come from a male orientated profession – accountancy – women were very much a minority when I trained. So women only networking gives me a balance. Try it, you might enjoy it.
Sue Weighell is a Finance Director, and also chair of the National Women’s Network – http://www.delta-solutions.org.uk
AGAINST – WOMEN ONLY NETWORKING
As a family lawyer setting up a new department in Altrincham I have been researching the networking opportunities locally and I have to confess to a wry smile about women only events. We spend so much of our lives arguing for equal opportunities and rights and as business women we have all forged ahead regardless of any prejudices we meet along the way. It seems bizarre to then focus on women only networking potentially blocking out half our potential contacts and markets. Imagine the outcry if men insisted on men only networking, we would all be picketing with placards!
We object to men only clubs, girls can now join the scouts, women are involved in all kinds of sports including boxing and England has a womens football team and golfing team that do very well. We have high level women judges and women at high levels in other walks of life. We have made inroads in to all areas and I don’t see why we feel the need for our own special support. Historically there was good reason but just as men have had to relinquish their male only clubs I am surprised that we don’t have men objecting to women only networking and demanding to be involved.
I confess though that it is nice to team up with a ” bunch of girls” like minded and professional without any men trying to take over but should we not continue to take ourselves forward as a team of people instead of as a separate group. Otherwise it seems to me we promote segregation rather than integration.
Ruth Tibbett is a family lawyer at Dunne & Gray – http://www.dunneandgray.co.uk
NOW OVER TO YOU……… ARE YOU FOR OR AGAINST WOMEN ONLY NETWORKING – TELL US WHY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION